Fiber rich foods are heart healthy. There’s no debating that. However, the jury is still out on fiber-enriched foods, according to an NPR article. Fiber additives might not have the same health benefits as foods with fiber.
Food scientists believe added fiber sources such as sugarcane fiber, oat fiber and a resistant corn starch – which aren’t normally ingredients in foods such as breads – add fiber, but not always the benefits you’re looking for. The fact is that it’s not yet known whether the fiber in an apple, or other fruits, is what makes the food so healthy, or if it’s a combination of other ingredients in the fruit.
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For the past several years we’ve been warned about plastics. Studies and other sources say plastics made with a BPA material can produce chemicals having estrogenic activity (EA) that can leach into foods. A whole industry of BPA-free plastics was created and now thrives, while justified, on our fears.
A new study published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a publication of the U.S. National Instutute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health and Department of Health and Human Services. The study’s objective: “To determine whether commercially available plastic resins and products, including baby bottles and other products advertised as BPA-free, release chemicals having EA.”
The study finds that “Almost all commercially available plastic products we sampled, independent of the type of resin, product, or retail source, leached chemicals having reliably-detectable EA, including those advertised as BPA-free. In some cases, BPA-free products released chemicals having more EA than BPA-containing products.”
Before you go buy a stainless-steel canteen and figure out how to incorporate it into your workout, there are a few facts to make clear. The study, as published, is credited to CZ Yang, SI Yaniger, VC Jordan, and GD Bittner. NPR published an article on the study, which offers a history that George Bittner is a professor of biology at the University of Texas, Austin. Bittner also founded the company, CertiChem, that did the testing for the study. That starts to raise a red flag, but it’s not uncommon for professors to be involved in outside companies that are ancillary to their academic work. So we should be concerned about all plastics again, regardless of whether they contain BPA or are free of the substance.
Wait. The graphic in the NPR story is a photo of two bottles from a company called PlastiPure. The caption says “PlastiPure manufactures water bottles that it says have no estrogenic chemicals.” No other mention of PlastiPure occurs in the story. Two days later a follow-up story on NPR titled “Plastic’s New Frontier: No Scary Chemicals” touts PlastiPure for its efforts in manufacturing plastics that have no EA properties, unlike ALL other plastics. The article mentions “This week, scientists from Plastipure and its sister company, CertiChem, published a study of more than 450 plastic products, including many labeled BPA-free. It found that more than 90 percent released chemicals that mimic estrogen.”
Wait! The company that conducted the study is so closely tied to the company claiming to be the savior of plastics. Both were founded by George Bittner, Ph.D. and share several other executives, as does the contributor list on the study.
While the research is important, its validity is in question here. Independent research should be done before we worry about all those BPA-free plastics. It’s easy to pull 450 plastic products for testing and still purposely avoid some candidates because you know they’ll be free of EA, so that your study can pave the path for your PlastiPure company. It’s also astounding that PlastiPure’s web site makes claims such as “PlastiPure is the first and only company developing plastic materials, processes, and products that are safer both for humans and the environment.”
While the study has to be observed, and now we don’t know which plastics are safe and which are not, there are safer bets than others. Companies do test their products rigorously, which the study tries to negate. Check out our water bottle round-up, and read about the research and development behind Specialized’s Purist bottle made from silicon dioxide.